Best School Districts for Your Buck in California

Mortgages, Studies
You can trust that we maintain strict editorial integrity in our writing and assessments; however, we receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners and get approved. Here's how we make money.
Best-School-Districts-in-California-2015-story

California boasts some of America’s top public schools and competition for homes in these districts can be fierce.

Take Piedmont, considered by some to be the best district in the San Francisco Bay Area. The average home price in Piedmont, according to Zillow, is $1,737,900. In Southern California, every single one of the schools in La Cañada Flintridge earned a perfect 10 at the popular school rating website GreatSchools. To buy a home there, be prepared to spend an average of $1.5 million. Both of these communities are well out of reach of the average worker in California, who earns about $1,100 a week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But there are hidden gems throughout the state — places where children can still get an excellent public education and home prices aren’t reserved for the very wealthy. NerdWallet crunched the numbers and found places for families who want strong schools near big cities or those who are looking to live in California’s more rural areas.

NerdWallet’s analysis

Here’s how we found the best school districts in California:

Affordability. We calculated this by averaging the district index score for median home values and selected monthly homeowner costs (which includes property tax) for the school district.
Standardized test scores. We analyzed high school STAR scores and SAT scores for the 2012-13 school year. STAR, Standardized Testing and Reporting, has since been replaced by CAASPP, the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress. These are the state’s student achievement assessments.
College readiness. We factored in the most recent data on graduation rates and students seeking post-secondary education.
Class size. We also considered the student-to-teacher ratio.

We analyzed 375 school districts in California. All data are from the U.S. Census Bureau or the California Department of Education.

Couple buying a house with a real estate agent

FIND THE BEST REAL ESTATE AGENT

Use our data-driven matching service to connect with the agent that’s right for you.

mortgage-calculator-house-afford

DETERMINE YOUR HOME BUYING BUDGET

Our affordability calculator lets you include factors like debt and savings to determine how much house you can really afford.

Key takeaways

Small areas score big. Many high performing districts we found are in more rural areas such as in Calaveras County’s Gold Country. If your career isn’t tied to a major metropolitan area, these smaller communities can offer great value.

Affordable options exist. You don’t need to spend a mint to live in a good school district. In the area that supports high-performing Shasta Union High School District in Redding, home values average $236,400.

Best school districts in California

1. Davis Joint Unified School District

Davis Joint Unified is one of the highest-performing school districts in the state with a SAT average of 1756 and a graduation rate of 97.5%. Home values in this city west of Sacramento hover at about $546,000, which is on the higher end of our top 10. The district has 21 schools, including Davis Senior High and Da Vinci Charter Academy.

2. Scott Valley Unified School District

Established in 2007, this young school district, about 40 miles south of the Oregon border, has already seen marked success. Both Etna and Fort Jones elementary schools are California distinguished schools, and Scott Valley High School also impresses with STAR scores that are in the top quarter of results statewide. The cost of a home in this district, which prides itself on its location in the valleys of Siskiyou County, is on the lower end of our top 10 at $212,800. For families seeking smaller classes, the district of 700 features about 15 students per class.

3. Palo Alto Unified School District

Palo Alto, even with higher-end San Francisco Bay Area median home values upward of $1 million, makes our list because while housing in other school districts is just as costly, the quality here can’t be matched. The district has both the highest SAT and STAR scores in the state, and 89% of students go on to graduate from post-secondary education. Furthermore, Palo Alto Unified averages a class size of 17 students — offering a personalized education at all levels.

4. Shasta Union High School District

Serving Redding and surrounding areas in Northern California, Shasta Union High School District makes our list due to a strong graduation rate, solid test scores and housing costs of $234,600. Home to the Shasta Wolves, the Enterprise Hornets and Foothill’s Cougars, Shasta Union High is a school district that offers students a variety of extracurricular activities. Award-winning music programs and activities, such as mock trials and the robotics club, create a diverse student experience.

5. Bret Harte Union High School District

Bret Harte Union High School District, in the state’s Gold Country in Calaveras County, is named after the American poet. The district makes the list due to a strong graduation rate of 94.7% and a class size of 16 students. The Bret Harte High School is the major school in this district, which although small, provides an array of athletic programs, including football, golf and swimming.

6. Walnut Valley Unified School District

Located in eastern Los Angeles County, this school district serves the cities of Walnut and Diamond Bar. The school district had one of the state’s highest graduation rates of 98.3%, as well as a high SAT average of 1785. The school district is home to Walnut High, a two-time national blue ribbon school and a seven-time California distinguished school. The school has rigorous course requirements, but also offers electives such as business management and entrepreneurship and architecture: drawing and design.

7. Siskiyou Union High School District

Siskiyou Union High is a rural school district in Northern California’s Siskiyou County. This district, which is near several national parks, includes five high schools and about 750 students. Like nearby Shasta Union, homes are among the more affordable on our list at $240,000. The district’s largest high school, Mount Shasta, scores a 7 out of 10 at GreatSchools, and offers courses ranging from music theory to business law.

8. Sutter Union High School District

Sutter Union High School District makes our list as it’s both affordable — housing here is the lowest on our top 10 at $219,000 — and it has a high graduation rate of 98.8%. The rural school district near Yuba City, in the northern part of the state, is home to Sutter Union High School, widely known in the area for its successful athletic programs. The school also offers clubs such as the Future Business Leaders of America.

9. Acalanes Union High School District

This large school district that serves four different high schools in Contra Costa County scores impressive marks across the board. The district has the state’s highest rate of students who graduate from post-secondary education, as well as a graduation rate of 98.1%, and an average SAT score of 1802. The district’s quality is even throughout, and all four of its schools place in the top 60 of California’s over 1,000 high schools.

10. Durham Unified School District

Durham Unified seeks to educate by standing by its slogan “Small Schools, Big Education.” The superintendent’s promise to provide small class sizes at every grade level is backed up by data, which show a class size of 17 students. Durham High School has graduation rates of 94.5% with 86% going on to graduate from post-secondary education. The district, with an  average home value of $354,300, is an option for those who want to live only miles from Chico, home of California State University, Chico.

Methodology

The score for each district was calculated from these measures:

  1. Housing cost for each school district was 25% of the total score. Housing cost was calculated by averaging the district index score for median home values and selected monthly homeowner costs (which includes property tax) for the school district. The more affordable the area, the higher the cost score. Data are from the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
  2. Standardized testing score was 35% of the total score. The SAT average and mean scale score for the high school STAR test were equally weighted. STAR tests that were included for our rankings were summative math, integrated math 3, biology and English language arts. Data are from the California Department of Education.
  3. College readiness for the class of 2013 was 30% of the total score. College readiness was a combination of a school district’s high school graduation rate, which is the percentage of students who graduate in the standard four years, and the percentage of students going on to four-year institutions for higher education. Data came from the California Department of Education.
  4. Student-to-teacher ratio or class size was 10% of the score. This score was manually calculated by dividing the number of full-time teaching staff in a school by the number of students enrolled. Data are from the California Department of Education.

 Best school districts in California (full data)

Rank School district 2013 median home value Average SAT score High school STAR mean scale score Graduation rate Student-to-teacher ratio
1 Davis Joint Unified $546,000 1756 384 97.50% 20.28
2 Scott Valley Unified $212,800 1569 368 92.00% 15.91
3 Palo Alto Unified $1,000,000 1954 429 93.50% 17.07
4 Shasta Union High $236,400 1645 365 93.40% 21.62
5 Bret Harte Union High $281,600 1554 363 94.70% 16.39
6 Walnut Valley Unified $597,800 1722 402 98.30% 24.56
7 Siskiyou Union High $240,000 1609 350 89.60% 12.96
8 Sutter Union High $219,300 1496 351 98.80% 20.03
9 Acalanes Union High $813,700 1803 404 98.10% 19.04
10 Durham Unified $354,300 1547 360 94.50% 17.70
11 Irvine Unified $639,900 1813 398 95.50% 24.87
12 Sierra-Plumas Joint Unified $237,300 1454 366 94.70% 13.07
13 Muroc Joint Unified $66,000 1471 358 93.90% 22.76
14 Chico Unified $280,300 1605 357 88.10% 20.07
15 Rocklin Unified $329,900 1604 380 95.00% 22.98
16 Calipatria Unified $78,700 1344 344 90.30% 19.21
17 Fall River Joint Unified $189,000 1495 354 88.30% 17.18
18 Nevada Joint Union High $343,700 1708 361 90.80% 22.15
19 Northern Humboldt Union High $328,900 1551 360 91.00% 17.05
20 Silver Valley Unified $123,200 1431 350 93.90% 18.86
21 Paradise Unified $189,200 1571 350 85.30% 19.55
22 Fremont Union High $895,800 1841 411 94.00% 22.17
23 Plumas Unified $243,100 1539 355 92.30% 16.60
24 Folsom-Cordova Unified $305,600 1596 367 92.80% 23.06
25 San Luis Coastal Unified $484,900 1660 369 96.50% 19.08
26 Arcadia Unified $792,900 1789 399 98.30% 22.91
27 Fortuna Union High $266,500 1573 357 90.60% 21.08
28 Conejo Valley Unified $597,500 1700 393 96.30% 22.96
29 Oak Park Unified $637,500 1783 395 95.30% 24.25
30 Mendocino Unified $504,500 1717 369 93.00% 14.81
31 Temple City Unified $584,500 1713 387 94.60% 25.21
32 Yreka Union High $178,700 1541 355 94.50% 20.63
33 East Nicolaus Joint Union High $294,000 1519 371 92.70% 18.16
34 Saddleback Valley Unified $473,300 1627 384 95.30% 25.53
35 Summerville Union High $314,900 1559 362 85.50% 15.11
36 Roseville Joint Union High $317,400 1556 363 92.30% 22.00
37 El Dorado Union High $368,300 1610 373 93.10% 23.54
38 Fremont Unified $600,300 1739 385 82.10% 22.44
39 Mariposa County Unified $235,800 1577 354 90.30% 19.00
40 Pleasanton Unified $708,900 1786 386 95.30% 22.76
41 Modoc Joint Unified $158,200 1557 329 90.00% 18.02
42 Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union $1,000,000 1867 414 97.10% 19.01
43 Center Joint Unified $201,600 1538 359 89.10% 24.20
44 Ventura Unified $421,900 1602 364 90.30% 21.92
45 Sonora Union High $262,300 1568 343 91.20% 20.45
46 Eureka City Unified $249,100 1471 352 89.10% 20.16
47 Sierra Unified $270,400 1570 367 90.50% 19.47
48 Scotts Valley Unified $665,300 1653 387 97.90% 21.19
49 Ferndale Unified $358,600 1474 356 97.10% 18.39
50 Benicia Unified $423,700 1587 368 98.00% 22.87
51 Poway Unified $550,100 1688 386 95.20% 26.66
52 South Pasadena Unified $820,200 1761 402 97.20% 23.38
53 Imperial Unified $177,300 1458 350 96.60% 23.64
54 San Ramon Valley Unified $809,800 1743 403 98.40% 21.58
55 Elk Grove Unified $238,500 1460 351 88.10% 19.02
56 Placer Union High $357,900 1573 362 92.50% 22.78
57 Glendora Unified $492,200 1594 370 97.90% 23.92
58 Golden Valley Unified $262,800 1481 377 86.60% 21.86
59 Los Alamitos Unified $566,000 1629 391 97.20% 25.55
60 San Lorenzo Valley Unified $472,300 1634 368 94.40% 19.75
61 Lincoln Unified $228,500 1529 354 85.20% 23.72
62 Lemoore Union High $195,000 1447 360 87.60% 20.38
63 Clovis Unified $264,900 1510 369 92.10% 24.28
64 Gridley Unified $183,100 1440 352 83.50% 20.31
65 Albany City Unified $621,900 1752 392 91.00% 18.65
66 Dublin Unified $561,100 1629 377 95.50% 20.01
67 Borrego Springs Unified $196,300 1351 352 84.60% 14.25
68 Morongo Unified $124,600 1474 356 85.60% 21.83
69 Tulelake Basin Joint Unified $134,400 1469 330 94.40% 13.85
70 San Marino Unified $1,000,000 1831 412 99.30% 21.26
71 Wheatland Union High $195,500 1416 347 96.00% 19.81
72 Black Oak Mine Unified $299,000 1523 359 91.50% 19.75
73 Brea-Olinda Unified $532,100 1606 385 96.40% 26.90
74 Lakeport Unified $209,900 1455 355 90.40% 19.95
75 Sierra Sands Unified $177,100 1664 357 92.70% 21.68
76 Calaveras Unified $233,700 1566 344 91.30% 20.18
77 Carmel Unified $909,000 1767 385 91.30% 15.31
78 Live Oak Unified $160,100 1283 341 94.50% 21.22
79 Lodi Unified $219,500 1479 359 82.80% 21.76
80 Exeter Union High $198,200 1416 349 81.30% 21.50
81 Hilmar Unified $228,600 1409 356 90.00% 19.33
82 Riverdale Joint Unified $158,900 1291 347 98.20% 20.63
83 Anderson Union High $202,200 1537 345 88.00% 22.83
84 Yuba City Unified $189,300 1478 342 83.90% 20.00
85 Simi Valley Unified $433,000 1626 363 84.70% 21.28
86 Livermore Valley Joint Unified $486,300 1629 370 91.40% 20.64
87 La Canada Unified $1,000,000 1853 403 97.60% 21.68
88 Turlock Unified $191,700 1472 356 90.10% 21.81
89 Central Union High $148,500 1402 342 86.00% 23.19
90 Travis Unified $288,300 1516 360 94.00% 23.06
91 Temecula Valley Unified $300,600 1522 366 94.00% 24.89
92 Oroville Union High $153,000 1422 338 87.00% 21.51
93 Holtville Unified $135,400 1284 340 89.00% 20.33
94 ABC Unified $483,100 1600 373 93.40% 23.71
95 Del Norte County Unified $198,400 1440 337 88.60% 19.02
96 Fort Bragg Unified $336,500 1464 359 90.70% 15.21
97 Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified $574,100 1643 379 93.20% 23.99
98 Bear Valley Unified $228,400 1586 349 91.00% 22.65
99 Martinez Unified $383,400 1546 364 88.40% 21.86
100 Moorpark Unified $526,200 1647 360 90.50% 23.59
101 Rim of the World Unified $227,900 1548 350 84.40% 23.89
102 Kelseyville Unified $234,500 1550 342 89.60% 20.70
103 Visalia Unified $178,300 1428 346 88.30% 24.59
104 Mountain View-Los Altos Union $1,000,000 1817 394 94.30% 19.36
105 Lompoc Unified $257,500 1476 354 87.50% 20.31
106 Santa Ynez Valley Union High $661,300 1615 365 95.60% 18.51
107 Modesto City High $167,900 1462 351 84.20% 23.85
108 Claremont Unified $505,500 1592 363 97.30% 23.47
109 Hughson Unified $207,900 1457 357 93.50% 21.86
110 Lassen Union High $191,400 1465 345 88.20% 23.36
111 Alhambra Unified $421,000 1547 369 91.40% 25.00
112 Ukiah Unified $298,800 1550 347 82.20% 18.45
113 West Sonoma County Union High $543,600 1713 366 91.70% 20.34
114 San Dieguito Union High $813,200 1761 391 97.20% 24.44
115 Trinity Alps Unified $255,400 1502 344 96.70% 18.30
116 Yosemite Unified $212,600 1531 356 83.30% 20.61
117 Manhattan Beach Unified $1,000,000 1776 413 95.30% 21.48
118 Escalon Unified $246,900 1462 358 95.00% 21.99
119 Bonita Unified $433,100 1508 368 95.20% 23.96
120 Amador County Unified $270,500 1522 352 86.20% 22.58
121 Sanger Unified $208,400 1424 343 96.80% 19.70
122 Lone Pine Unified $165,600 1625 322 96.20% 18.33
123 Snowline Joint Unified $166,600 1532 341 87.00% 25.54
124 Oakdale Joint Unified $250,100 1513 349 86.70% 21.88
125 Redlands Unified $286,500 1521 354 91.20% 23.09
126 Glendale Unified $597,400 1603 376 91.90% 22.89
127 Merced Union High $149,800 1358 346 92.90% 23.01
128 Southern Humboldt Joint Unified $328,100 1553 349 79.40% 17.95
129 Fullerton Joint Union High $441,100 1566 377 91.90% 27.15
130 Brawley Union High $149,700 1362 344 93.00% 23.82
131 Waterford Unified $145,400 1438 349 94.50% 21.69
132 San Juan Unified $259,000 1525 345 80.80% 21.93
133 Templeton Unified $428,900 1604 357 97.80% 21.65
134 Fowler Unified $214,100 1333 341 98.80% 20.45
135 Huntington Beach Union High $585,800 1584 373 93.10% 24.44
136 Shoreline Unified $767,400 1539 355 96.20% 12.31
137 Castro Valley Unified $570,600 1608 360 94.90% 22.19
138 San Marcos Unified $388,500 1507 370 94.50% 24.07
139 West Covina Unified $375,900 1515 344 96.50% 18.90
140 Pacific Grove Unified $723,400 1689 370 93.20% 18.11
141 Firebaugh-Las Deltas Joint Unified $119,300 1186 340 91.00% 21.41
142 Murrieta Valley Unified $286,300 1486 369 94.40% 26.45
143 Natomas Unified $229,100 1413 350 89.20% 22.24
144 Middletown Unified $210,600 1478 348 92.30% 20.01
145 Tulare Joint Union High $158,500 1363 342 87.00% 21.75
146 Ojai Unified $516,100 1578 356 93.20% 20.86
147 El Segundo Unified $736,500 1601 389 97.00% 23.55
148 Tracy Joint Unified $251,100 1467 349 87.30% 22.34
149 Petaluma Joint Union High $463,800 1608 357 92.60% 19.78
150 Torrance Unified $614,100 1580 369 95.70% 24.01
151 Atascadero Unified $388,800 1599 343 96.40% 21.55
152 Capistrano Unified $628,400 1612 382 97.20% 26.59
153 William S. Hart Union High $395,600 1611 368 93.00% 24.97
154 Alhambra Unified $489,200 1547 369 91.40% 25.00
155 Willits Unified $251,900 1425 351 75.80% 17.47
156 Tamalpais Union High $974,800 1721 387 96.90% 16.49
157 Lake Tahoe Unified $353,700 1533 341 84.90% 20.39
158 Valley Center-Pauma Unified $421,700 1506 359 98.30% 22.21
159 Alpaugh Unified $106,300 1126 339 70.00% 8.13
160 Hanford Joint Union High $178,000 1384 345 88.10% 25.11
161 Laytonville Unified $321,900 1465 330 93.60% 16.28
162 Corcoran Joint Unified $123,300 1247 343 76.70% 19.38
163 Milpitas Unified $514,700 1601 372 92.80% 23.83
164 Red Bluff Joint Union High $193,300 1538 344 80.30% 19.38
165 Piedmont City Unified $1,000,000 1711 388 98.10% 14.80
166 Winters Joint Unified $286,500 1459 345 88.20% 20.57
167 Rowland Unified $408,200 1488 362 83.90% 22.21
168 Apple Valley Unified $170,700 1493 341 84.00% 24.83
169 Lucia Mar Unified $442,300 1544 354 90.80% 21.52
170 Kingsburg Joint Union High $224,900 1416 334 93.00% 20.59
171 San Mateo Union High $814,800 1645 379 94.40% 18.86
172 Galt Joint Union High $230,900 1478 348 87.50% 23.29
173 Santa Cruz City High $615,100 1636 348 89.80% 19.17
174 Sacramento City Unified $237,300 1406 345 85.30% 26.21
175 Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified $1,000,000 1743 400 98.80% 22.75
176 Orange Unified $539,200 1539 373 93.90% 24.29
177 Laguna Beach Unified $1,000,000 1750 387 96.10% 20.86
178 Woodland Joint Unified $263,600 1426 345 86.80% 21.68
179 Maxwell Unified $151,400 1174 320 100.00% 18.16
180 Corning Union High $151,600 1333 329 85.40% 18.15
181 Stockton Unified $126,500 1304 333 83.10% 20.95
182 Hemet Unified $135,900 1443 344 79.00% 24.48
183 Novato Unified $585,400 1605 362 92.50% 19.30
184 Le Grand Union High $120,400 1272 317 88.70% 17.10
185 Coast Unified $643,900 1481 358 91.90% 15.55
186 Tustin Unified $599,900 1603 381 96.80% 27.97
187 Las Virgenes Unified $809,300 1709 379 95.40% 21.48
188 Orland Joint Unified $207,500 1366 334 90.70% 21.63
189 San Gabriel Unified $574,500 1587 373 89.00% 23.48
190 Liberty Union High $313,600 1470 359 86.90% 24.08
191 Covina-Valley Unified $371,400 1417 351 95.70% 22.46
192 Vacaville Unified $279,500 1507 342 84.30% 22.56
193 Carlsbad Unified $593,100 1628 375 94.80% 24.90
194 Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified $315,600 1605 362 83.70% 21.14
195 Anaheim Union High $385,800 1486 363 84.30% 24.57
196 Saint Helena Unified $890,900 1576 376 95.80% 15.42
197 Gateway Unified $190,800 1441 322 87.80% 17.83
198 Anderson Valley Unified $528,800 1451 350 90.50% 15.03
199 Upland Unified $421,100 1522 360 94.50% 24.06
200 Esparto Unified $245,400 1307 357 88.80% 20.56
201 Santa Rosa High $371,400 1608 352 82.40% 20.35
202 Ripon Unified $308,200 1453 350 90.20% 23.46
203 Charter Oak Unified $386,400 1401 357 94.20% 25.43
204 Escondido Union High $362,200 1511 357 82.60% 21.89
205 Garden Grove Unified $390,400 1450 364 89.20% 25.26
206 Chawanakee Unified $283,600 1463 352 92.20% 18.12
207 Burbank Unified $554,700 1568 366 91.70% 23.98
208 Tehachapi Unified $217,200 1550 356 88.00% 23.40
209 Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified $219,100 1456 333 90.60% 23.12
210 Tahoe-Truckee Joint Unified $477,000 1531 348 89.70% 18.74
211 Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified $215,300 1343 327 74.30% 15.76
212 Los Molinos Unified $160,700 1244 327 86.20% 17.67
213 Newark Unified $433,100 1470 350 87.90% 21.47
214 River Delta Joint Unified $239,000 1419 333 86.10% 18.73
215 Linden Unified $308,800 1437 349 91.50% 21.69
216 Mt. Diablo Unified $415,500 1536 342 82.60% 20.98
217 John Swett Unified $295,000 1375 340 89.60% 21.05
218 Colusa Unified $174,100 1386 348 70.70% 20.71
219 Riverbank Unified $159,000 1321 338 83.00% 21.33
220 Western Placer Unified $331,000 1495 347 87.70% 19.48
221 San Diego Unified $420,400 1406 349 87.90% 19.03
222 Ceres Unified $160,200 1344 341 85.40% 23.69
223 Napa Valley Unified $407,600 1519 341 87.60% 20.97
224 Newman-Crows Landing Unified $141,900 1396 329 93.10% 24.30
225 Aromas-San Juan Unified $417,400 1458 354 97.40% 18.57
226 Konocti Unified $130,400 1369 332 81.50% 21.48
227 Bellflower Unified $369,300 1466 352 93.20% 24.37
228 Windsor Unified $386,600 1590 344 89.30% 19.57
229 Manteca Unified $200,800 1405 337 92.00% 24.48
230 Santa Maria Joint Union High $274,100 1397 335 84.00% 22.73
231 Hacienda La Puente Unified $361,500 1412 345 88.40% 22.06
232 Ramona City Unified $383,100 1551 354 88.60% 26.20
233 Marysville Joint Unified $165,700 1420 330 79.70% 22.88
234 Dinuba Unified $153,600 1318 320 92.00% 19.88
235 Farmersville Unified $105,700 1146 338 89.10% 20.83
236 San Rafael City High $694,900 1558 362 91.40% 19.13
237 Grossmont Union High $347,200 1464 355 78.30% 25.24
238 Delhi Unified $134,700 1337 325 89.30% 23.65
239 Kerman Unified $170,200 1356 346 87.20% 25.26
240 Berkeley Unified $698,600 1669 347 85.50% 16.00
241 Chino Valley Unified $384,200 1478 350 89.00% 25.82
242 Beverly Hills Unified $1,000,000 1733 391 95.00% 16.72
243 Coalinga-Huron Joint Unified $145,900 1389 318 71.00% 22.28
244 Fairfield-Suisun Unified $251,300 1454 331 89.50% 24.15
245 Chaffey Joint Union High $297,500 1426 351 86.20% 26.20
246 Patterson Joint Unified $166,800 1380 339 87.70% 25.06
247 Paso Robles Joint Unified $366,600 1552 345 87.50% 22.15
248 Selma Unified $173,600 1314 332 91.10% 20.62
249 El Tejon Unified $208,200 1489 337 84.40% 24.18
250 Lake Elsinore Unified $223,300 1411 344 88.80% 23.70
251 Taft Union High $119,700 1410 338 96.90% 15.18
252 Azusa Unified $304,500 1346 334 93.00% 20.24
253 Calexico Unified $153,600 1321 325 75.40% 25.85
254 Victor Valley Union High $135,200 1343 339 78.50% 24.68
255 Kings Canyon Joint Unified $169,200 1313 337 90.00% 21.27
256 Culver City Unified $609,200 1530 369 86.60% 23.01
257 Lucerne Valley Unified $101,100 1342 349 68.40% 19.19
258 Healdsburg Unified $518,900 1572 345 89.30% 21.08
259 Barstow Unified $104,100 1299 328 73.10% 22.63
260 Dixon Unified $298,400 1460 339 81.00% 21.97
261 Twin Rivers Unified $155,600 1343 328 75.30% 20.40
262 Desert Sands Unified $278,900 1393 353 85.60% 25.09
263 Redondo Beach Unified $715,000 1592 371 90.70% 23.85
264 Vista Unified $360,200 1510 351 81.10% 22.92
265 Antioch Unified $232,600 1421 336 77.80% 22.50
266 San Lorenzo Unified $335,000 1392 344 85.80% 21.91
267 New Haven Unified $460,700 1524 345 79.80% 23.71
268 Mammoth Unified $490,300 1530 356 82.00% 17.71
269 Delano Joint Union High $138,400 1319 361 92.90% 25.28
270 King City Joint Union High $196,900 1359 331 82.60% 25.60
271 Downey Unified $396,200 1418 353 92.70% 24.54
272 Hesperia Unified $152,200 1343 332 83.20% 25.65
273 Oceanside Unified $327,700 1519 347 87.00% 24.25
274 Salinas Union High $287,500 1378 333 80.20% 21.45
275 Palo Verde Unified $124,100 1342 316 81.70% 24.28
276 Campbell Union High $681,600 1604 361 91.40% 21.88
277 Fresno Unified $158,900 1338 325 76.20% 20.83
278 Pierce Joint Unified $220,700 1356 337 94.60% 20.25
279 Beaumont Unified $199,200 1414 339 88.90% 26.21
280 San Benito High $339,300 1469 343 88.70% 25.36
281 Chowchilla Union High $155,500 1420 331 80.80% 22.58
282 Norwalk-La Mirada Unified $345,300 1399 341 94.00% 23.42
283 Jefferson Union High $581,400 1489 351 91.00% 22.44
284 El Monte Union High $371,900 1377 344 86.70% 21.95
285 Los Banos Unified $146,000 1350 338 89.50% 26.52
286 Duarte Unified $360,600 1385 340 93.20% 22.58
287 Long Beach Unified $421,000 1427 344 80.80% 25.07
288 South San Francisco Unified $577,300 1467 349 93.80% 22.43
289 Palm Springs Unified $194,100 1328 341 87.20% 25.32
290 Fallbrook Union High $443,400 1491 346 86.00% 22.62
291 Baldwin Park Unified $285,100 1342 337 93.20% 24.16
292 Dos Palos-Oro Loma Joint Unified $108,500 1316 317 87.50% 26.65
293 East Side Union High $469,000 1459 352 82.00% 22.85
294 San Jacinto Unified $126,200 1300 338 81.60% 24.85
295 Perris Union High $182,000 1361 344 84.40% 28.18
296 Calistoga Joint Unified $477,800 1336 345 83.30% 16.51
297 Morgan Hill Unified $596,600 1522 357 93.20% 23.16
298 Fontana Unified $208,700 1311 342 86.40% 23.69
299 Pomona Unified $286,900 1292 323 79.10% 16.35
300 Mountain Empire Unified $242,700 1365 330 70.00% 16.54
301 Rialto Unified $168,900 1316 332 80.00% 24.05
302 San Leandro Unified $373,800 1384 334 82.40% 20.63
303 San Bernardino City Unified $158,300 1318 327 75.50% 21.90
304 Mendota Unified $112,800 1215 317 80.40% 22.39
305 Central Unified $191,600 1327 327 79.60% 23.66
306 Antelope Valley Union Joint High $167,700 1362 327 77.70% 24.35
307 Fillmore Unified $305,600 1449 322 87.20% 24.44
308 Sweetwater Union High $331,000 1411 350 83.20% 23.69
309 Point Arena Joint Union High $476,400 1310 326 81.30% 10.18
310 Denair Unified $280,800 1449 323 75.00% 16.04
311 Santa Ana Unified $342,300 1359 335 85.90% 23.40
312 Gilroy Unified $464,400 1536 360 83.80% 22.34
313 Cabrillo Unified $745,100 1653 364 88.70% 23.24
314 Oxnard Union High $371,000 1426 339 77.50% 24.86
315 Corona-Norco Unified $348,200 1462 352 91.90% 24.48
316 Riverside Unified $262,000 1428 342 85.50% 25.39
317 San Jose Unified $646,400 1534 355 81.70% 19.94
318 Madera Unified $156,500 1312 327 83.40% 22.28
319 Santa Monica-Malibu Unified $1,000,000 1616 383 93.50% 20.83
320 Southern Kern Unified $121,100 1401 321 77.60% 24.67
321 El Rancho Unified $331,100 1311 346 87.50% 23.77
322 Monrovia Unified $493,400 1319 362 86.80% 22.23
323 Santa Clara Unified $581,200 1526 355 81.30% 22.72
324 Cloverdale Unified $353,500 1463 339 79.30% 21.57
325 Parlier Unified $113,000 1240 318 80.70% 20.88
326 Reef-Sunset Unified $114,600 1191 307 77.10% 21.49
327 Caruthers Unified $231,100 1237 320 92.10% 19.24
328 Val Verde Unified $173,100 1306 338 90.20% 25.17
329 Wasco Union High $132,000 1374 344 83.50% 24.44
330 Upper Lake Union High $162,700 1366 310 84.70% 20.65
331 Colton Joint Unified $193,900 1335 322 77.80% 21.20
332 Paramount Unified $281,400 1284 336 80.80% 23.61
333 Newport-Mesa Unified $834,000 1513 370 93.40% 22.20
334 Carpinteria Unified $654,000 1462 346 91.60% 22.19
335 Whittier Union High $362,400 1350 352 87.30% 27.30
336 Willows Unified $219,800 1311 320 82.70% 25.74
337 Sequoia Union High $902,900 1570 363 87.70% 17.75
338 Bassett Unified $312,500 1324 336 91.30% 22.79
339 Sonoma Valley Unified $506,100 1536 335 87.60% 20.94
340 Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified $142,500 1138 314 76.30% 19.20
341 Santa Paula Union High $324,200 1308 332 85.10% 26.89
342 Gonzales Unified $214,300 1260 305 81.00% 22.41
343 Pittsburg Unified $210,200 1319 318 71.30% 21.51
344 Moreno Valley Unified $179,300 1327 326 81.50% 23.44
345 Vallejo City Unified $218,300 1345 330 65.00% 23.61
346 Porterville Unified $133,600 1353 330 83.70% 25.43
347 Alvord Unified $226,400 1366 344 80.20% 25.83
348 Kern Union High $165,300 1367 338 79.60% 22.87
349 Monterey Peninsula Unified $448,600 1381 340 85.00% 19.44
350 Coachella Valley Unified $139,200 1209 325 79.10% 21.69
351 Lindsay Unified $148,800 1300 315 82.70% 24.01
352 Jurupa Unified $216,600 1353 331 82.00% 23.06
353 Williams Unified $169,000 1312 300 78.70% 22.44
354 Alameda City Unified $618,800 1475 363 84.70% 20.29
355 McFarland Unified $115,800 1199 331 83.30% 18.68
356 Hayward Unified $332,600 1340 338 76.70% 23.07
357 Montebello Unified $365,300 1336 332 87.30% 25.24
358 West Contra Costa Unified $326,100 1343 324 79.90% 22.04
359 Gonzales Unified $304,800 1260 305 81.00% 22.41
360 North Monterey County Unified $353,100 1355 326 81.90% 20.11
361 Porterville Unified $167,900 1353 330 83.70% 25.43
362 Soledad Unified $206,400 1272 313 84.00% 23.66
363 Banning Unified $158,700 1282 314 83.70% 26.77
364 Mojave Unified $88,500 1280 318 74.90% 23.61
365 Pajaro Valley Joint Unified $444,600 1365 321 88.60% 25.06
366 San Francisco Unified $744,600 1353 338 81.70% 17.04
367 Pasadena Unified $600,600 1338 330 82.80% 20.44
368 Acton-Agua Dulce Unified $451,600 1395 335 86.60% 23.36
369 Los Angeles Unified $417,000 1254 330 68.10% 20.68
370 La Honda-Pescadero Unified $884,800 1423 340 87.50% 12.70
371 Centinela Valley Union High $386,300 1247 317 68.20% 25.63
372 Inglewood Unified $352,400 1210 318 80.60% 26.07
373 Compton Unified $238,200 1169 308 65.00% 23.25
374 Emery Unified $296,000 1182 319 80.00% 17.07
375 Oakland Unified $428,800 1254 327 62.80% 18.14

 

NerdWallet analyzed California’s unified and secondary school districts. Some districts were excluded from the final list because they lacked education or housing data.


Palo Alto, California, image via iStock.